Mrs. Mills November Principal Letter

11/7/2023 5:17 pm

Parent Newsletter   |  November 5, 2023

Dear DCES Families,

It's hard to believe we are already in November. We are enjoying the change in cooler temperatures, which was perfect for our Fall Carnival last Friday. It was lovely seeing all of our families and cubbies having a good time together. We want to give a huge shout-out to our PTO and Mrs. Dupey and Mrs. Engler for planning such an incredible and successful Carnival!


On behalf of our DCES staff, we want to thank all of our parents for your support and dedication to DCES. These events wouldn't be possible without you. We had another fabulous Book Fair, thanks to Mrs. Niesz, along with our parent volunteers. Thank you to Mrs. Graving for coordinating our first PTO Butter Braids fundraiser. DCES is blessed with the most amazing families, and we have much more to look forward to this year. Our PTO and 25-year Committee have been working hard to plan our upcoming 25-year celebration. Please save the date for our 25th Anniversary Celebration and Movie Night, Friday, December 1, at 5 p.m. on the DCES baseball fields. The night will include art and STEM activities, DCMS band, and the movie Bugs Life. Food trucks will be at this free event with food for purchase. More information to come from our PTO 25th Anniversary Committee.


At DCES, we strive to create a learning climate that encourages student achievement and fosters a positive learning community. Last week, school letter grades were published, and we would like to share some changes to DCES' letter grade. The Arizona Department of Education rates all K-8 schools using the four indicators in the graph below.

  • 3rd-5th Grade State Assessment Scores with Growth that contribute to 50% of the school letter grade

  • 3rd-5th Grade State Assessment Scores with a Proficiency level that contributes to 30% of the school letter grade

  • Accelerated Readiness contributes to 10% of the school's letter grade

  • EL Proficiency Growth that contributes to 10 % of the school's letter grade

When analyzing DCES indicator scores, we earned 81.58 points, which was 2.42 points short of being an A-rated school. Currently, DCES has a B letter grade rating according to the points allocated for each indicator. The 10% from Accelerated Readiness is where we have identified our difference from the previous year when we earned an A rating. Attendance, which is a part of Accelerated Readiness, was one of the critical factors in our school going from an A to a B. 


Moving forward, student achievement will continue to be our focus. We will continue to attain quality instruction for all students by having our teachers work in professional learning communities (PLCs), using a continuous improvement cycle. Our teachers meet bi-weekly for PLCs, with one focus on Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Academics (MTSS-A) and MTSS-B for student behavior support. We will continue to strive for excellence and provide effective instruction to ensure all students reach their academic goals.  


In addition, DCES is committed to starting an Attendance Committee with our PBIS Committee to improve our chronic absenteeism. As you may know, SUSD is launching its Attendance Matters Initiative, a campaign to reduce chronic absenteeism and increase student engagement. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10% or more of the school year, which is about 19 days or more of excused and unexcused absences.  


We will host Coffee with the Principal on Wednesday, November 15, at 8:30 a.m. in our DCES library. This will be an excellent opportunity to learn further details about our letter grade and to share any questions or concerns.


As you may already know, our school has been selected as one of the schools to move forward with a site visit from the Arizona Educational Foundation. After the school visits, judges will determine which schools have achieved an A + School of Excellence Award. Selected schools receive the A + School of Excellence recognition for four years. DCES is looking forward to our A + School of Excellence school visit on January 23rd & 24th. With a close partnership with parents, teachers, and students, I am confident we will have a very successful school year!


Important November Dates

November 7: Kindergarten Roundup 8:00 a.m.

November 8: Early Release 1:15 p.m. dismissal

November 9: Veterans Day Program 9:15 a.m.

November 10: No School

November 14: Picture Re-takes/Makeups

November 17: Turkey Trot

November 22-24: Thanksgiving Recess

November 27-December 1 PTO Holiday Shop

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Mrs. Mills September Principal Newsletter

11/7/2023 2:45 pm

Thursday, Sep 7, 9:00 AM

Parent Newsletter   |  September 8, 2023 
September 8, 2023
Dear DCES Families,

Our cubbies have been practicing Be Kind Skills. The theme for September is Be Supportive! One way you can reinforce the principles of kindness at home is to start a family discussion jar. Print and cut out sentence strips and place them in a jar (you can write your own questions in the blank spaces as well)! When you're ready, draw a question and discuss your answer as a family. Pay it forward; be kind!
Dot Day Message from Mrs. Sparks 
International Dot Day is September 15th! It’s based around Peter H. Reynold’s inspirational story, The Dot. If you’ve never read it, it’s timeless and ageless. The story, which I’m showing in all K-5 Art classes, is about a little girl who doesn’t believe she can paint and an art teacher who inspires and encourages her. Through the creation of various sized and colored dots, she becomes quite an artist. At the art show, a little boy approaches her to compliment her on her dots. She in turn encourages the boy to draw his squiggly line and then “sign it”, just as her art teacher had done for her. The story is about creativity and courage. One line that is prominent in the story is spoken by the teacher, who says, “Make a mark and see where it takes you!” International Dot Day is celebrated in over 192 countries by over 19 million people! Teacher Terry Shay read The Dot and her class started Dot Day in 2009.

We will be celebrating our first ever Dot Day at DCES. Each K-5 student is currently working on a grade level specific dot art project in Art class that will be displayed on campus. Students will have an opportunity to take a photo in front of the International Dot Day Sign and/or their artwork on Friday, September 15th! We will also be revealing the Art room’s new Dot Day Chair!

This can be a very simple way to remind our Cubbies that starting, even if it’s with a dot, can turn into success and creativity!

DCES Site Council Member Needed
We are seeking a K-1 parent representative. Terms are for two years. If you are interested in applying for site council, please complete the application form below and turn it in to the office by Friday, September 15th. 
Site Council Application
Important Dates: 
Wednesday, September 13th Early Release 1:15 pm
Friday, September 15th Dot Day
Monday, September 25th District Recess No School
Wednesday, September 27th, Early Release 1:15 pm
Wednesday, September 27th First Responders Event (wear red, white, and blue)
Wednesday, October 4th 1st Quarter ROAR Assembly 
October 9th-13th Fall Break No School 

Respectfully yours,
Mrs. Kimberly Mills金柏莉| Principal
沙谷小学Desert Canyon Elementary School
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DCES Message from Mrs. Mills

11/7/2023 2:38 pm

Hello, DCES families,

You will receive our September newsletter next week. However, we have a few time-sensitive announcements we would like to share before our monthly newsletter. Please see the message below from Mrs. Lewis, our school nurse.

Health Office Message 
As part of Arizona Department of Health Services requirements, we will be screening your child’s vision and hearing over the next couple of weeks. If you do not want your child to have their vision and/or hearing checked, please notify me in writing asap. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions at or (480)484-4611.   

Early Release Reminder
Wednesday, August 30th, is an early release day. Please make arrangements for our 1:15 p.m. dismissal. 

Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Please see the attached Move on with Reading letter regarding our Multi-Tierd System of Supports (MTSS) and our universal screening process.

Thank you to our fabulous picture day parent volunteers! We received several compliments from Dorian Studios on how smooth our picture day went. We are grateful for your time and support and for helping our day go smoothly. Thank you for helping our cubbies be picture-ready! 😊 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Mrs. Mills 
DCES Principal

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Mrs. Mills August Principal Letter

11/7/2023 2:34 pm

alt_textAugust 13, 2023

Dear DCES families,
This week was a fantastic first week of school for our cubbies! Seeing each class review DCES’ ROAR expectations by participating in our passport review was terrific. We ended our week by kicking off the school year with the Be Kind Crew! DCES was very appreciative of our guests that attended our first assembly for the school year. Our guests included Governing Board President Cieniawski, Vice President Werner, Dr. Libby Hart-Wells, Dr. Menzel, our SUSD Superintendent, and District Cabinet Members, including Ms. Serna, the Director of Elementary.
Thank you to our fabulous PTO and volunteers for providing teacher treats all week and for providing equipment and games for our high-heat recess rooms. Our cubbies enjoyed visiting the new movement room this week! 
Next week our cubbies will be starting their beginning of the year FastBridge assessments for Reading and Math. Please ensure our cubbies sleep well, get breakfast in their tummies, and arrive at school on time. This year we are focusing on student academic excellence with an attendance focus. Below you can read further information regarding the importance of attending school regularly and scheduling student appointments outside the school day. 


Did you know?   Attendance Matters for our Cubbies!
  • Starting in preschool and kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school.
  • Missing 10%, or about 2 days each month over the course of a school year, can make it harder to learn to read.
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just 1 or 2 days every few weeks.
  • Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
  • Absences and tardiness can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.
Desert Canyon Elementary believes its mission is best achieved in a caring community with high expectations for students, faculty, and staff. We strive daily to ensure students are enthusiastic about learning and enjoy school. At DCES, we prioritize promoting a positive school climate and culture with a sense of belonging. Therefore, during the school day, our time will be focused on supporting student learning and instruction and being present for our staff and students. We intend to respond to emails within 24 hours during the business day of the school week. When staff are off campus, we will respond at our earliest convenience upon returning to school. If you need immediate assistance during the school day, please contact DCES’ Administrative Assistant, Shelley Gilbert, at (480) 484-1702 or email DCES families can expect to receive communication regularly through teacher newsletters and, in addition, monthly principal newsletters. Additional communication will be shared with time-sensitive information. Communication will be shared through our new communication source, Parent Square.  
 Message from our fabulous PTO
“New and returning families, please be sure you’ve registered at so you can receive PTO emails, stay informed of PTO events and purchase SpiritWear
PTO auction winner parking spots are reserved parking and have nameplates in place with auction winners. They should not be used for drop-offs or temporary parking by other families. Thank you in advance for keeping these spots open and available for reserved winners. 
Several signs on a poleDescription automatically generated

Noon Aides Needed
DCES is looking to hire noon aides for student lunch times. If you know anyone interested, please share this link SUSD posting site to apply today. Hours for noon aides are 10:45-1:45 Monday-Friday. Thank you in advance for spreading the word!
Important Dates SUSD 23-24 Calendar

  • Wednesday, August 16th, Curriculum Night
    • Preschool-2nd Grade 4:00-4:45 pm 
    • 3rd-5th Grade 5:00-5:45 pm 
  • Thursday, August 24th, Student Picture Day
    • Order forms will go home this week for individual and class group photos.
    • Pictures can be ordered online at 
  • Wednesday, August 30th, Early Release 1:15 pm
  • Monday, September 4th, No School, Labor Day


Mrs. Mills 
DCES Principal

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